Kzoo superintendent on kneeling players: ‘I respect that’

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Colin Kaepernick has generated a lot of attention the last several months. He was the first NFL player to take a knee during the national anthem, and it sparked a national debate. But what about high school football players who want to kneel in protest during the national anthem?

Some Kalamazoo Central High School football players started kneeling last year. They’ve continued to do so this season.

“It’s their silent protest about certain conditions within their country,” said Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “I respect that.”

Rice also said he doesn’t have any plans to stop it.

“We’re not telling the students that they can’t exercise their First Amendment rights,” he told 24 Hour News 8.

Rice emphasized not all speech or expression is protected. But kneeling during the national anthem doesn’t rise to that level, he said.

“I don’t believe that it’s our job to dictate that particular moment,” Rice continued. “There are certainly people who would argue to the contrary, and I think there’s a difference between disrupting the moment and silently doing something a little bit different in the moment.”

He says it’s important for people to respect – and listen to – various opinions.

“There’s so much opportunity to be in our own echo chambers or our own silos, our own small pockets or political communities, that we’re losing some of the common culture that made us strong as a nation,” Rice said.

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